Part coming-of-age story and part how-to manual, the book is, above all, one of the most down-to-earth and least self-aggrandizing works of self-reflection you could hope to read. Evaristo’s guilelessness is refreshing, even unsettling ... With ribald humour and admirable candour, Evaristo takes us on a tour of her sexual history ... Characterized by the resilience of its author, it is replete with stories about the communities and connections Evaristo has cultivated over forty years ... Invigoratingly disruptive as an artist, Evaristo is a bridge-builder as a human being.
Throughout, the book deftly combines the personal and the political ... Intersectionality runs through this book like a quiet but mighty river. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s, including the underground queer subculture. These are all influences that have shaped the course of Evaristo’s life and the depth of her literary vision ... Diversity is treasured in this book but there is an equal emphasis on equality and inclusion...She does not shy away from difficult debates on who has the right to tell which story ... a beautiful, thoughtful and honest book about never giving up, even when it feels like you are 'writing into a void'. It is also a meditation on personal transformation, cultural inequalities, activism, belonging, love and friendships – and above all, the power of creativity.
... offers unalloyed insights into the making of a writer, illuminating the artistic journey of the author in an important and refreshing perspective on publishing and creativity in Britain in the last 40 years ... exhilarating ... With remarkable candour and humour, she charts her family’s history, her artistic trajectory from youth theatre to poetry and beyond, and a movable feast of lovers of both sexes in a romantic life whose ambition veers towards the epic. At every point, she ties it all back to how these experiences have made her the writer she is today ... a moving and highly readable account of a creative life, atomizing the hard graft of writing as experienced by an author who was growing up at a time when the term, 'Black British' was seen as an oxymoron ... While there is much more to be done to open up the space for a more diverse publishing industry, Manifesto is a timely reminder of just how far we have come.